Ramy Youssef calls for free Palestine and release of ‘all hostages’ in SNL monologue

Ramy Youssef used his Saturday Night Live platform to call for a Gaza ceasfire and the release of “all the hostages” in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

The comedian, writer and actor, who recently starred in Yorgos Lanthimos film Poor Things, hosted the US sketch show’s latest episode, which aired on Saturday (30 March) and roasted Trump over his recent bizarre attempts to sell Bibles.

Yousef addressed his faith and the situation in war-torn Gaza in his opening monologue, telling the audience that his friends regularly ask him to pray on their behalf.

One prayer he was recently asked to make for was for his friend Ahmed’s family, who are based in Palestine. Yousef said: “I’m like, ‘Dude, I got you.’ So that night, I go to pray, and my prayers are complicated. I’ve got a lot to fit in.”

Youssef continued: “I’m like, ‘God, please, please help Ahmed’s family. Please stop the suffering. Stop the violence. Please free the people of Palestine, please. And please free the hostages, all the hostages, please.”

More than 32,000 people have been killed in Gaza and 74,000 wounded, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally. The ministry says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

The comedian has been a vociferous supporter of a ceasefire, telling Variety on the red carpet at the Oscars earlier this month: “We’re calling for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza. We’re calling for peace and lasting justice for the people of Palestine.

“It’s a universal message of, ‘Let’s stop killing kids. Let’s not be part of more war.’ No one has ever looked back at war and thought a bombing campaign was a good idea. To be surrounded by so many artists who are willing to lend their voices, the list is growing.”

Ramy Youssef on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (YouTube)
Ramy Youssef on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (YouTube)

Earlier this week, Israel said a ground offensive is needed to destroy thousands of Hamas fighters in Rafah. The planned incursion has raised global alarm because the city on the Gaza-Egypt border is jammed with 1.4m Palestinians in sprawling tent camps and UN shelters, most of whom have fled fighting elsewhere.

The United States, Israel’s top ally, has urged Israel not to carry out the operation without a “credible” plan to evacuate civilians. Rafah is also the main entry point for desperately needed aid into Gaza, where the UN says 100 per cent of the population is at severe levels of food insecurity.

Additional reporting by Agencies